31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
8:11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
9:1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
9:2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary.
9:3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;
9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
9:5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
9:6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.
9:7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
9:8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
9:9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
9:10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
9:13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
9:16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
9:17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
9:18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.
9:19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
9:20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
9:21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
The passages in the left column include every text in the Bible which directly mention the “new covenant,” and as such will form the basis for the discussion which follows.
In those passages, God, through the prophet Jeremiah, speaks of the covenant given to the children of Israel, and which the Israelites had so lightly regarded as to make it of none effect. God goes on to promise that a new covenant will be given, one which will be more thoroughly imprinted upon His people, to the point that His law is not written merely upon tables of stone, but upon the hearts and minds of His followers. God’s people will no longer have to teach others to know God, for everyone would already know God.
Paul, referring to this promise, helps us to conceptualize the legal ramifications of the covenant. As any modern lawyer might, he walks us through the implications of “new covenant” and how that term automatically makes the former covenant to be the “old covenant.” As long-winded as a lawyer laying the foundation to his case, he continues through several chapters of Hebrews. He demonstrates the fact that a testament, or covenant, is not sealed until the testator has died. In other words, blood must be shed before the testament, or will, is sealed. My grandfather made a will, but it could not take effect until he died. In the same way, Jesus died in order that we might become heirs of the promise. Paul also elaborates further on the fact that the first testament required bloodshed as well. The blood of lambs, of bulls, and of the other sacrifices of the sanctuary service testified to the validity of God’s covenant law.
The new covenant, however, takes the law a step farther. It inscribes it upon the very soul and character of God’s people. The law is no longer something to be taught. It is lived. It is no longer external, but internal. Instead of being taken lightly, God’s people now regard it highly.
To say that one law of the ten commandments is no longer valid, when God has said He does not change (Malachi 3:6), is to disrespect God who gave us the law of great love and compassion for us. If God would so quickly change His law, why would it have been necessary for Jesus to live a perfect life of obedience in fulfillment of that law, and then die to testify to its truthfulness? Why would He have chosen to write it in tables of stone, a symbol of endurance? Why would He want us to memorize it? To keep it ever before us? And why would He so often have declared that His statutes should be perpetual?
God could not have made it more clear, than when He told the people of Israel:
31:16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
31:17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
31:18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
However, Paul does not expound on the Sabbath commandment in his discussion of the two covenants. He focuses instead upon the fulfillment of the types represented in the sanctuary service with Jesus’ death upon the cross. Type had met antitype. The former sacrificial system had now been superceded. A more real and personal covenant had been given through the death of the first covenant’s Author. That death forever sealed His will and made it unalterable.
I am thankful to serve a God who is not fickle, who does not change arbitrarily, and who means what He says. And how wonderful, how amazing, that God should love us so much as to seal His covenant with us in His own royal blood. Praise God!